Steven Levitt

No matter how expert you may be, well-designed checklists can improve outcomes.

Thomas J. DeLong

If you want to threaten a really smart person who is task driven, question his or her competency. That’s the very soul of who they are.

Seth Godin

Competent people have a predictable, reliable process for solving a particular set of problems. They solve a problem the same way, every time. That’s what makes them reliable. That’s what makes them competent. Competent people are quite proud of the status and success that they get out of being competent. They like being competent. They guard their competence, and they work hard to maintain it. … [ Read more ]

Qamar Rizvi

Knowledge is a higher order of awareness that tells you why. Know-how is a higher order of knowledge that tells you how.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.

Matthew Budman

Surveys show that workers aren’t resentful of CEOs’ exorbitant pay-in fact, Americans in general are surprisingly blasé about inequality-but that’s partly because they aspire to that pinnacle. People hunger to be managers because they know that’s the only path to the good life in corporate America . . . which is one reason why we have so many inept managers. This is yet another argument … [ Read more ]

Richard Bolden

While competency frameworks, used considerately, can have an important role to play, they are no more than a map that can be used to explore and navigate the concepts of leadership and management. Like all maps, however, they only represent a fragment of the complexity of the terrain and over-dependency will fail to engage with the real problems of leading in complex and changing environments. … [ Read more ]

Malcolm S. Salter

If you look at a lot of the fraud cases, before fraud there was terminal incompetence. When we teach the governance and ethics course [at HBS], the point I make is that you can have great values, but if you don’t have the competence [to implement them], forget it. You need both character and competence. If you don’t have the competence, you’re going to get … [ Read more ]


When you know absolutely nothing about a skill, you are unconsciously incompetent — that is, you don’t know what you don’t know. As you learn more, you become consciously incompetent: you know what you don’t know. With training and practice you can become consciously competent, while total mastery makes you unconsciously competent, meaning that you use the skill so effortlessly that you’re not even aware … [ Read more ]


Confidence precedes competence.

Jeff Bracker

Confidence is more important than competence. Competence can be bought. Confidence, never.